Place Where You Live:

Fresno, California

Fresno is a calm location. If you step outside, you can often hear the wind blowing; it’s not at all difficult to find a place in which to gather your thoughts. Fresno lacks the traffic and noisy streets of a bustling city – it is an agricultural hub, abundant with farms and crop. It is a serene location, perhaps that’s why my parents chose to start a family there – I’ve lived in a suburb of Fresno all my life. Landing in the Fresno Air Terminal is anything but inspiring. Listening to a looping message about all 5 things that Fresno has to offer can get old really fast. Imprinted in my mind are the posters about raisins and small cul-de-sac communities with the occasional omnipresent ad for Barracuda networking systems that should be second nature to anyone who travels. But, as much as I hate to admit it, Fresno is actually much more than meets the eye. Muffled by the orange groves and apple orchards is a tiny voice making a heroic effort to be heard by the rest of the world. Over the past ten years, Fresno has been silently assembling an unlikely gatherum of entrepreneurs, conservationists, investors, and determined individuals who claim that Fresno is the world’s next silicon valley – a hub not only for produce, but for tangible global improvement. Having lived in Fresno and watched it slowly become more and more of what I wanted the city I lived in to become, it became increasingly apparent to me that the vast majority of people who had casually heard of Fresno associated it with the stereotype of gangs, crime, and lack of work ethic. At one point, I may have agreed with them; but now I can see the bigger picture. Fresno is a child with absentee parents shunned for a lack of regard to personal hygiene and addiction to video games. But sometimes the person that nobody imagines anything of does the things that nobody can imagine. And I’d like to think that some day Fresno will do just that.